Tuesday, 27 September 2016

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Christ's Message To A Devoted But Deficient Church - Revelation 2:1-7




There are many symbols in the book of Revelations, symbols which have specific meanings: seven stars, seven golden candlesticks, as seen in today's text. 

Christ's Message To A Devoted But Deficient Church - Revelation 2:1-7


"I know thy works.... "Jesus spoke these words. He said He knew them (Ephesian church) from leader to members, their deeds, their lives in the secret and open. As He commended, He also revealed their fault to them in the aspect that they have left their first love. He warned them to make amends very quickly.
He commanded them in 2:1-7 to take heed to the warning from the Spirit and also revealed to them the reward for them if they overcame. The Ephesian church were devoted to the Lord, the gospel, they were committed and dedicated to holding on to the word of God. 

1.      Primary Application: Revelation 2:1. Church of Ephesus. Primary audience. 2:8, 12, 18, 3:1, 7, 14.

2. Present Admonition. Revelation 2:7. "He that hath an ear, let him hear", the admonition is to all: leader and led, everyone, Revelation 2:17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22. The admonition is also for us today.

3. Prophetic Anticipation. Talking about the future, about Paradise, when Jesus would come Revelation 2:7, 11, 17. At the final day, overcomers will be rewarded. Repetition means emphasis. Revelation 2:25 "hold fast till I come"; Revelation 2:26-28, "he that keepeth my works to the end", even to the millennial reign; 3:4, "and they shall walk with me in white"; "Behold, I come quickly... "  Revelation 2:11; "to him that overvometh vs 21.
The writing was directed to the church that existed at that time, it is for personal, present admonition and also for future application. Christ spoke to the Ephesian church and to the present day church. We need to have this attitude to the word of God, that is: every written word applied to them first and then to us: the present day church. I Corinthians 10:11 "Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

A.    Christ's Reassurance For A Favoured Minister:

Revelation 2:1. "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;" Here the Lord Jesus directed the message to the Ephesian church. Jesus described Himself as the one that holds the seven stars in His right hand, and also walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. This implies that He is in control, walking around in the midst of the churches, He's also looking closely at the churches, and nothing escapes His all-seeing eyes.
Ephesus was a favoured church. Apostle Paul was there for three years as well as Appollos and Timothy for missionary work. "the angel of the church" refers to the minister, the pastor. Gal 4:14 - the Galatians saw Apostle Paul as an angel of God. Ministers were equated with angels because they were holy, high, heavenly, obedient to God's word, faithful, uncompromising, just as we equate the building with the church. Acts 7:38. The church in the wilderness were the Israelites.

"Ecclesia" is the Greek word for the church which means they were on a journey, they came out of the world, they are going through the wilderness of the world, and they are going into the promise land: heaven Jeremiah 2:6-7; I Peter 2:9. The church came out of darkness, bondage, into God's marvellous light. Acts 2:47 the Lord added to the church such as should be saved. We are not part of the world, we are on a journey to heaven.

"Unto the angel of the church" Note: the word angel is in the singular form which implies that the leader of the church is one person. This is against the argument of some, that the church should be led by a committee of people and not a single God-appointed leader.

The "seven stars" also refer to the ministers of the seven churches Revelation 2:1. Stars are champions. The ministers were called stars because they have turned many to righteousness out of sin; many out of darkness into God's marvellous light.

Jesus walked in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Revelation 1:20. The seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches. The churches are to hold the light up to others, the churches are meant to be the light of the world, the society, the community.

"Golden candlesticks" because the church is golden, priceless, treasure.

Jesus walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, overseeing the churches just as God walked in the midst of the camp (of the Israelites) Deuteronomy 43:14. Jesus walks in, supervises and analyzes the churches. He must not see any unclean thing, so that He doesn't withdraw His presence from us. 2 Corinthians 6:16-17. The church is called out, must be different from the rest of the world. 





B. Christ's Recognition Of A Faithful Ministry. Revelation 2:2-3. "I know thy works... "Jesus knows our work in private, public, our thoughts, intents, actions. The church is like a chain which could break at the weakest link. Each of us must ensure we are strong so that the chain does not break at our point. Self-examination is crucial Revelation 2:5.
"and thy labour..." Revelation 2:2.

1. "I know thy labour" John 6:27. Is our labour for bread and butter, certificates, mundane things that will perish? Our labour must be for eternal things that will not go up in flames, for things that will endure forever. 

I Corinthians 15:10. Apostle Paul talked about his labour for the spread of the gospel by the grace of God: it was soul-saving, sanctifying.

Revelation 2:58. We are to abound in the work of the Lord, get committed to His work, not politics, not secular interests.

2.   "and how thou canst not bear them which are evil..." We must not accommodate those who are evil. We must not have anything to do with those who will not help our faith. Many fail the examination of the Lord here. They meddle with compromisers, false prophets/pastors, those who are not walking in the way of God, who lower the standard of the word of God, as leaders, they invite such people to their pulpits. The Ephesian church scored high in this aspect. They did not tolerate evil. We must also refuse, resist, and reject falsehood, errors, just as the Ephesian church did. 

Galatians 2:4-5 we must not accommodate false brethren for a small moment.
I Tim 1:13. We will stand with and keep the word of God, the sound doctrine, no matter who is standing or not standing right.

Revelation 2:3. "and has not fainted"

We must never mind whatever the people of the world are saying. Our slogan should always be: "LET THEM SAY!" Jesus is always looking out for faithful, standing believers.

2 Corinthians 4:1,16-18. "we faint not" in evangelism, in obedience to the word of God, in the face of ridicule and jesting even from our relations and compromisers. We should never be ashamed of our Saviour. With our inward man renewed every day, we mind eternal things.
Revelation 2:6. ...which I also hate." Here is Jesus talking here. Some people erroneously say, does Jesus hate anything? Is He not love? He is meek, lowly, never condemns, etc.

Yes, He is love, meek and lowly but He does hate some things. He hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans Revelation 2:6.

Deuteronomy 16:22. God hates images of anyone or anything erected anywhere: in church buildings, in our houses, etc. He sees this as idolatry.

Proverbs 6:16-19. God also hates the following among others:
- a proud look
- a lying tongue
- hands that shed innocent blood
- heart that devise wicked imagination
- feet that be swift in running to mischief
- a false witness that speaketh lies
- and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Isaiah 6:1,8. God loves judgment and hates robbery for burnt offering (armed robbers that bring gains of robbery to church as offering).
We must not in any way support wrongdoings.
Hebrew 1:8-9. God hates iniquity and loves righteousness.
We are to have the mind of Christ in all things, love what He loves, and hate what He hates.

C. Christ's Requirements Of Faulty Messengers And Fallen Members. Revelation 2:4.

If someone we love dearly tells us he has something against us, won't we be startled or bothered? If Jesus - whom we have willed our lives to, who died to save us, who loves us beyond measure - says He hates something, are we not supposed to pay proper attention? Indeed. We are to labour in love, affection, and excitement and achieve excellence. As believers, we do not postpone, but make amends where necessary, immediately.
Revelation 2:4-5. We are admonished by the Lord to go back to our first love. FIRST LOVE:

1. Fervent Love. We were so excited and fiery when we first believed.

2. Fresh Love. It comes so fresh and refreshing. We read the Bible in excitement.

3. Full Love. The heart was not divided.

4. Free-flowing Love. Reading the Bible touches our hearts and drew tears of gratitude from our eyes, church attendance was regular, we were not tired or bored with staying long in the presence of God.

5. Self-forgetting Love. We forgot ourselves in the hands, service, and will of God. (Now we have cases of self-love).

6. Obedient Love. Faithfully we obeyed God's word, commitment to evangelism no matter how much it cost us, we spent our resources, and gave our best at all times.

7. Foremost Love. We put Christ ahead of every other thing.

Hosea 10:2. Our hearts and attention must not be divided, we must concentrate on the things of God.
Jeremiah 2:2. Reminder of past good deeds which must be brought back.

Mark 4:18-19. Distractions of the cares of this life, many things competing for our affection, prayer life, no longer touching Jesus as we used to, we must look into these and make amends.
John 21:15. At the beginning, Peter left all and followed Jesus. Here he is being challenged by the Lord to go back to his first love.
How will the first love come back? 
Revelation 2:5. We will start doing those things we used to do that helped our walking with God: praying fervently, reading the Bible. We must:
- Remember (where we have erred)
- Repent (of our errors)
- Repeat (do the first works, that is, go back to the things we used to do).
Lamentations 3:40. We must search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.

#Summary:
We must all agree that we are not as we used to be, check ourselves, be truthful to ourselves and make amends very quickly.
#Prayer:
May God help us to regain our first love.
May God bless and preserve our father in the Lord for us.



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Written By:
 Kemisola Omoyiola is a born again, heaven-bound daughter of the Most High God, a worker in Deeper Life Bible Church, who earnestly desires to win souls through her write-ups.

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